Community Colleges Try To Revamp Image To Keep Students

Career College Central summary:

  • In a bid to boost graduation rates, community colleges are shedding their image as commuter campuses with big parking lots.
  • The two-year colleges, which offer everything from certificates in welding to associate degrees in computer science, are increasingly building student centers and developing housing options to keep students more connected to their schools. They are offering services like mental-health counseling to help students navigate life outside the classroom.
  • About a quarter of community colleges offered housing in 2010, a figure that inched up only slightly since 2000, according to federal data. But officials say there has been a boom in the past few years not reflected yet in federal data.
  • Some skeptics of the nonacademic services, such as state officials, question whether it will drive up tuition costs and reduce the appeal of the schools, which attract many students who can't afford four-year colleges. But community-college officials say retaining students with perks and programs will result in more total dollars from an increase in students paying tuition.

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